Ayiti: The Cost of Life


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PatrickCost of Life Things don't feel right out here... despite the optimism.

Ayiti: the Cost of Life is one of the best political web games released this year, right up there with The McGame and the comic genius of Airport Security. You control the activities of a Haitian family trying to get by, the experience is like Oregon Trail meets Wyclef Jean ("if I was president..."). Health, education, community service and just making ends add up to a compelling strategy game thats easy to play but hard to beat.

Unlike most games with a political message, such as September 12th or 3rd World Farmer, Cost of Life actually has a strategy that works, but it's buried in a heap of revealingly faulty approaches. The balance of the game's randomized elements shows the designers subtly imbued their message; where health risks can be marginalized and hurricane disasters rare, unlike 3rd World Farmer's frustratingly even spread of bad luck that ensured you'd lose it all every few turns.

Here's a strategy guide diverted from fanboy tradition to become incisive analysis:

If you live poor everyone gets sick quickly, preventing them from working and incurring health costs to get well, which effectively spirals the family into a negative feedback loop that kills everyone. You need to keep the living rates at a decent level to keep the health profile going, but that alone isn't enough. If you help build up the local community center (run by Unicef, which also had a hand in producing the game) you'll get health and educational benefits more frequently. Volunteering also increases eduction for free, as opposed to paying for school in addition to not earning money. Having at least one educated family member able to work as a secretary (for an NGO office, hmmm, fingerprints of the producers?) is the mid-game breakthrough that lets you live good (where health doesn't deteriorate on a seasonal basis; mmmmm, delicous middle-class stasis). The trick is getting the wife up to education level-four before the negative feedback loop pulls you under the tide.

It took me about six or seven plays to hone-in on the precise winning strategy that lets you break into middle-class stability: self-education. Spending the fifty goul every season on books will earn the whole family educational points much more cost effectively than schooling (since they can also work), so you only need to take Marie to vocational school a handful of times. Schooling the children is a good bet, but only through home schooled books, the Christian schools are too expensive and affordable public schools require an artificial barrier of purchasing a school uniform.

Nothing demonstrates hypocrisy more sharply than losing at the game. Reading on your own time, because you want to, is the cheapest and most effective way to learn and better your earning prospects. The political message seems to be then: where there's a will and a library, there is a way. A counter-message seems to be: where there's an NGO proliferating the availability of libraries, the odds of people having the will to better themselves are higher because the means are presently available. The first message is implied from the game's material constraints (books, cost economy) and seems to be decidedly conservative (get a job! read a book! American Pie discourages loveless sex!). The second message comes from the game's formal constraints (the progression of an explcit reward cycle deriving from macro-scale mechanics) and is seemingly quite leftist (NGOs are the answer, hurrah!). The beauty of the play's resonance, of the messages only games can imply, comes in the gap between these constraints, and orthogonally, from the gap between the game's representations and its simulated mechanics of economy and randomized interdiction. In that quiet space, you are not a pawn in an agenda, but a family, and holy flavin, thats art.

Its also kind of fun as you figure out how to get ahead, if you prefer fun to preachy political subtext. I'm not sure which was more compelling, the later feelings of success as I worked that dominant strategy, or the early feelings of anguished sympathy as these people helplessly struggled with no way out.

Play Ayiti: The Cost of Life

Walkthrough Guide


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What a pity Biti didn't say how you get all the diplomas!

I've managed a maximum of 11 diplomas by sticking to the following rules. I think getting the final 4 is mostly a matter of luck with the jobs that come up and the availability of the right schooling. Sorry it's so long-winded:

Things to buy at the store:

Before you do anything else, buy shoes and books. The shoes allow their health to deteriorate more slowly as they work

Buy books EVERY single round after that - this is the key to everyone getting education in the game. Buy these before you buy anything else.

Once you are into the third (or even the second) season start to buy the Home Remedy every turn. It won't stop you getting colds forever, but it does seem to approximately double the time before the family come down with them.

Usually you won't need the toys or the radio at all. That is, if you pick the right jobs, and don't "work hard" all the time, so that you don't let your health deteriorate to the point where you have cholera/TB etc. you won't need them. Only buy the school uniform either when the child you want to educate needs the uniform, and not "just in case".

Buy the books and as soon as you still have over 350 goud left after that send either Jean (the father) or Patrick (the elder son) to work and see if the construction worker job is available, if it is, buy the bicycle).

The bed, the livestock and the plumbing are all very useful for helping the family stay healthy or making money, so get each as soon as you have enough money.

Lastly, if you can help it, don't let your money go right down close to 0 for the start of the round, sometimes the balance will drop before it begins to go up again, you could end up with poor living because of it.

Voluntary work:

As soon as they are available, get the maximum number of people voluntary jobs - they (obviously) don't give you money, but you do get some added education from them, and hopefully, if you can get 2 volunteers for the first 2 seasons you'll begin to build the community centre and this gives tons of benefits the further you get with it.

After the main community centre, you'll automatically build the library (which gives you an education bonus every turn, once it's finished), after that you have a choice - take the health information office, if you can get that built before the end of year 2, with a bit of luck you may never need to send anyone to the hospital or clinic as that will give them all a health boost each turn.

The final thing to build is a soccer field - by then you don't need more than one person as a volunteer, the others are better occupied either working or studying, even if 2 slots are available. Once that's built you really don't need to put anyone in as a volunteer again.

Jobs:

If possible, you need 3 people in paid work every turn (until you get your own stall, then 2). The other 2 should either be volunteering or in education.

Unless there are no other jobs available, the Rum Distillers should never be used. It impacts far too much on their health, even though the pay is better than the Farm Hand or Market Woman, they are far better options in the early part of the game.

Construction worker is slightly tougher on them than Mechanic/Mechanic Assistant, but quite a lot better paid, and as soon as you have a bicycle either Jean or Patrick should take this job. If both are qualified enough to be a Mechanic/Mechanic Assistant and both jobs are available, give it to the one who has better health.

Follow the tips below about schooling and you should have Mechanic/Mechanic Assistant options quickly for Jean and Patrick and (with luck) Secretary for Marie by the end of year 2 (or if you have a bad selection of jobs by the end of year 3). Secretary is the best paying job that anyone will qualify for but Marie is the only one who can hold it, and she has to have a technical degree before she can take it.

If you are lucky, when you have over 750 goud during your turn you will be offered the chance to buy a stall and that makes as much money for one of the parents as the secretary's job. Ideally you can have both parents working for 420 goud each and have all 3 children in school and still be making a profit.

Education

Jean, Marie and Patrick (the parents and the elder son can get better/more choices of work by getting educated, so they are the ones that you need to concentrate on initially when you are educating the family. Jean needs least education to become a mechanic. One season at the vocational school, if you click on study hard, will qualify Jean as a mechanic.

Two seasons of studying hard will see Patrick qualified as a Mechanic Assistant, and it takes 3 seasons of hard study to get Marie a technical degree, which she requires to become a secretary.

So it's best to educate them in that order to give the maximum chance of 3 people always having a decent paying job.

Vocational school for the adults isn't available every season, so do take advantage of it when it is. It's worth noting that, for all school doesn't run for the kids over the summer, occasionally the vocational school for the adults does.

The Private "lottery" school really isn't worth bothering with for the children - if you can't afford Protestant school or the Public school and a uniform put them into work or working on their own farm and make sure they have the books to study at home.

Of the other 3 schools, the Public and Catholic schools can't be used right at the start even if you buy a uniform. You'll need the child you want to send to one to have either studied at home/worked/volunteered for at least 3 seasons or to have already spent 1 season at a different school.

Where possible, buy the uniform and use the public school. Catholic school gives the best education, but is VERY expensive and should only be used if you have a stack of extra money for some reason and you've bought everything that will be helpful.

Don't forget, that you shouldn't educate people if there are volunteer slots to fill, and you haven't finished building everything, these will overall give more educational benefit for everyone.

Everything else:

1. Use Decent Living every turn, make sure that if it drops because of poverty you put it back up at the end of the turn.

2. Make sure you have at least 150 goud before the start of the hurricane season as you could be asked immediately to pay that much to hurricane-proof your home. If you don't, you're almost certain to take 400 goud damage during the season.

3. At Christmas, unless you have a huge excess of money don't buy the festive stuff, your money can be better spent and if you stick to the other rules you won't need the happiness boost.

4. Only send people to the clinic/hospital when there are jobs they can't do because of illness or when they have a named illness and it is offered during a turn as an option. Once you have the health information office just use the clinic to get their health back up to where they can work again and the health awareness nights will do the rest. Don't waste money on going to a clinic/hospital before you have to. It's better to continue volunteering and get the health information office built, which will stop health deteriorating each turn and gradually improve it.

Oof this is long. But helpful! Click for advice.

+ The object of the game is to finish with both parents alive, so yeah, it does matter.

+ Volunteering = good. (Guess which family member is best for volunteering...) Actually, there's tons of info in the blocks of text, it can help a lot.

+ I've never confirmed it, but what you choose in the beginning affects your gameplay. It may become a challenge to achieve your set goal. If you feel like a random event is/isn't happening and time's running out, chances are it really won't kick in as much as you'd like -- change course before it's too late.

+ Pay attention to the seasons, and associated costs. Plan ahead. Budgeting is your friend!

+ Figure out which power-ups are worth it, both in reward and cash. There will be different rates for everything.

Ok, if that's too vague, I'll have pity... a home remedy may not stop serious illness, but it might qualify someone for a job that's otherwise closed because of sickness. AND: books? They work. But again, it's just a nudge. Sometimes they can be at the same # level and with no diploma, and yet suddenly qualify for a job with purchase of books. Another detail is some kids learn faster than others...

Sometimes an option (or person! or building...) that doesn't seem to pay off / buff will actually cut down the time required to reach a goal. Or not. It's a bit like the Grow games that way.

+ Standard of living matters a great deal.

+ Be able to make adjustments on the fly. That's the fun-gaming part of this. (for length:)

I.e. if Rum Distiller is the only thing available, you can maximize income while minimizing injury with good mgmt. Prioritize which family members to power up or down before you start, because random events will interrupt.

+ One mean trick is

sending one to work or school if they're sick but not seriously dying. If they're really that sick, they'll be sent to the clinic, and you could save cash AND time whilst doing two-birds-one-stone. This is the only way to really move them mid-season.
If they're just getting worse, though, send them home just before the end of the season. There's a chance they'll be sent to the clinic from there, plus you'll get close to a whole season's effects.

The whole family cannot afford to be sick at once.

+ Normal stuff can happen such as

parents being worried if their child is too sick. in which case sending them to volunteer may not help their happiness. Or health affecting efficacy of the task.

And yes, I've done all 15 diplomas, though not often. I never take my own advice.

Rules of thumb:

  • Try to always have 3 incomes and 2 students/volunteers, unless you have enough saved to get by on fewer than 3 incomes for a season and there are good educational opportunities available.

  • Fill all volunteer slots until you have everything built. To have a realistic shot at 15 diplomas, you need the community center to get started in season 1 or 2, and you should have everything done by halfway through year 2.

  • Educate/volunteer the parents early and often, because their educational opportunities are rarer, since vocational school isn't year round, but there is always a school option for the kids year round. Also, the two younger kids give you no monetary benefit from education anyway. Just fit them in when either there are no volunteer slots and no vocational school, or when jobs are scarce and one or both parents need to work jobs the kids can't do, or the kids are run down and need a little break.

  • You don't need any of the expensive items (beyond the bicycle). You need all the money you can get to further education instead. Do buy the books every season, and early on the herbal remedy as well (until the health awareness nights kick in). You probably won't need the toys, but the radio can be helpful, and the uniform is necessary for public school. Pick the bicycle up in year 1 or it probably isn't worthwhile.

  • Buying the stall only makes sense in the first two years... later on you're just breaking even or even taking a loss and it's better to have the financial cushion or get more people in schools.

  • Keep your living standard on good as often as you can afford it early on, then drop it to decent once everyone's health gets back up to 8 or so due to the health awareness nights.

  • If anyone is getting low on health, use them as volunteers or send them to school. Ideally, their health will hold out long enough for the health awareness nights to start their magic.

  • Always have everyone work hard. Taking it easy doesn't seem to save much health, except if they're working as rum distillers (which should only be a last resort job if it's a very weak job market otherwise). You get quite a bit more money (and presumably education/volunteer work) than if you take it easy.

  • For schooling, early on take all volunteer slots, but when there aren't two slots, priority should be vocational school for the adults, then public school for the kids (cheap and effective, you can sometimes get all three kids in at once if you have the parents working good jobs), then if necessary protestant school or professional tutor. Try to avoid local tutor and lottery school, since they are not as helpful, and catholic school since it basically cancels out one of your incomes (though it is pretty effective... can be a good choice in the last two seasons of the game if you have some money saved and one of the kids needs more than 1 education point to get to 9). Once everything is built, public school and vocational school are more effective than volunteering, but volunteering is still better than a local tutor or lottery school, and it's free so it can be more useful than the other schooling options.

  • Keep at least 150 on hand to start hurricane season, and make sure you are making money that season in case there is a second hurricane to boot. More than once I've paid through the first hurricane only to be out of cash and had my game effectively ended by the second one.

120 Comments

Ooh, wow, this game is really a hard one. But it's so much fun. :) Thanks for the tips on the reading - I managed to get through the year OK.

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I manage to get through the first year with a "great" level, but the rest are awful. It's that tide thing you mentioned. :P

Of course, I never thought of educating the wife, always the children. I send them all to volunteer for education, instead of school.

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Oh, man, this makes me want to play Oregon Trail. I spent a lot of time dying of cholera in that, too.

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Oh noes! my oxen died!
fun game.. after a couple of bad tries where everyone ended up too sick to work I managed to end up with 'ok lives' for all of them, 'achieving some success despite their hardships'...

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3 of my subjects survived.

-MANAX

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Burner413 November 7, 2006 1:04 AM

Finally - I think my 20th try or so I made it to the end...

got lucky because good jobs available round 1

I ended up with 8 diplomas and $250 at the end. I had about $1200 - but sent everyone possible to private school the last couple rounds to try to get diplomas.

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I finally got the hang of it, so for the last two years we were really quite well-off. It was really hard, though!

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Managed to get to 10 diplomas and 3900 at the end...

fun and actually fairly challenging game (is it just me or is it actually impossible to ever buy the new house or the computer... well maybe not the computer but definatly the house... so expensive!!)

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Meh, this is the only one of this stream of political games that has remotely compelling gameplay. Even this one, just barely. I support the liberal messages of these games but do the points have to be made so literally? And what are barely-playable games doing on this site which is usually devoted to playable ones?

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Brian - they are here to spark comment and debate about the themes and topics presented within them. And judging by the responses received so far, I think we've achieved our goal. =)

Thank you for playing. ;)

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I can't manage to get to the end with anything but "an ok life" for everyone - can someone post some tips? A fun game but I'm just not good enough at it...

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RP - "an ok life" is the best I've managed too, with 10 diplomas, good living conditions, and pretty high health and happiness for all of them ...

Frankly, I can't see how to get to excellent living or buy a new house or anything without some massive streak of luck - the best success I've had is always

when the community center comes up quickly.

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Valaruka - still better than me since I haven't managed to get a single diploma yet! It just seems that doing enough work to survive means that their health deteriorates far too quickly for me to repair, so the only way I can keep things going is by rotating people in and out of the clinic while just subsisting with no education. Maybe the point that they were aiming at but I know some people have done better...
I think this game would be more fun if you could keep playing beyond the four years.

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hmm, well I see the message here. People are saying that the comminity center/library are the best way to go... How do u get that? by volenteering for UNICEF.
yea. so its possible to look at this wonderful game as entierly promotional.

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Some more tips that I've found useful:
General:

Buy shoes right away, they keep health from going down so fast while working.

Try to buy books every season, don't bother with school (except vocational for one of the parents).

Notice there are buttons "Work Hard", "Take it Easy" and "Quit" for each family member when the season is in progress; use them.

If anyone becomes sick, don't ignore it - just go to the clinic.

Jobs:

Always fill all of the Volunteer job slots.

Don't have anyone be a Rum Distiller, the pay isn't worth the health loss.

Resting at home for a season doesn't improve health much, just keeps it from going down more - so if you're low go to the clinic.

Market Woman is a great job - decent pay and no health risk.

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I get the message, poor people must work hard to survive and they can't get an education to get better jobs to afford a nice new home, right? This is why it is impossible to buy the new home, ever, it can't be done.

If you set your lifestyle to good and put everyone to work at the highest paying job possible, you can end the game with an 'ok life'. I almost had enough for the computer. Also, I bought the market space offered for $500, which earned me about $450 per season for the man. No one ever got an education though. But no one ever got sick or depressed either. I had the radio, toys, bike, bed, indoor plumbing. Always bought home remeady.

Fun, but I wish we could go for more than 4 years. At the rate I was going, the family would be rich in about 20 years. Which is normal for everyone. Guess that's why you can't go longer. The political message would have lost all it's meaning. So I guess you can't get rich quick after all, even in Africa. Everyone must work hard and sometimes suffer, duh, life is hard, duh. It's everyone's fault except my own, NOT.

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If I may be allowed one more comment..

Ended this time with 11 diplomas and $2600. The woman had a doctor degree because I sent her to school twice! Buy School Books everytime and volunteer all available spots. This gets everyone an education up to Bachlorette and builds more buildings in the town.

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After several desperate tries I got the hold on how to get an OK life.

Affected by self being an academic I always tried to get education up first, so you can get decent jobs etc.
But it wont work! The way to go is money! (as hard as it may sound)
And with the money buy stuff to get life good.

  • 1st round: Buy shoes, books, radio and toys right away.

  • Send everyone to work, if there is no slot free work at the family farm (no schools now, you get now an education level just for the books). (which is btw. a little unrealistic expecting them to be able to read, before ever going to school).

  • Every round sent 1 family member as volunteer, so you can get the NGO extra's.

  • Sent the womans (mum+doughter) to the market, good job for not too much health loss

  • Don't use the rum destiller, the farmer-job is a good input also...

  • Keep some money

  • Always set the people to work/study hard... (buttons available during running season, is a bit cumbersome to always set them, esspecially since it will interrupt you with some news):

  • Buy the market stand which is offered you! 420,- every month for either mom or dad, with not much health loss.

  • Don't bother sending the kids to cheap schools, wait until you can affort them really good education, until that let them work.

  • In storm season keep 150,- safe for securing your home, an unsecured house with a storm is an effective game stopper.

  • Buy the Livestook soon, as it really improves your money income

  • Buy the Plumbing & Bed soon to keep health well.

  • Never let somebody work when he is ill, it will only get worse and more expensive, send everyone to the hospital immediatly.

  • If health drops at 5 or below, sent the person to the hospital, you have enough money right? Not the clinic, the hospital will get him to 9 in one season and he can work/study really hard again!

  • Don't bother letting people resting at home at start of a season sent them to hospital right away!

  • If your money drops to 0 once it's almost over. You can only survive maybe 1 season when touching it. Don't forget to set the livestyle back to decent, if you manage to recover.

  • If you have Plumbing + Bed + Livestook you can sent people to school, always pick the best available, depending on finance situation you can send 1 or 2 at once.

  • I was never able to buy a computer or a house. Maybe if the game just went longer... but everyone had an OK live and was a bakkaleurat..

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Had another good go; this time I went with working everyone instead of going to vocational school. Ended up pretty well: OK life for everyone, 7 diplomas, $1100ish cash, everyone at 8+ health and happiness, all the items except computer and new house, got the market stall and was profitable at excellent living conditions...

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YEA! it took like 20 tries but i got.... drumroll... 10 degrees!
doesn't seem that great, but its a BIG improvement for me -- usually they all die in the 2nd season!

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this is a hard game. is there anyone who finished the game pretty fast? if you can, please give me a few tips for the second year thx

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Finally finished the game with an OK score, after about my 10th try.

I followed Grid's advice and it worked even better than the first time I played.

I ended up with 6 diplomas, 1619 goud, technical degrees for Jean and Marie, basic degrees for the three kids, and I even managed to keep Yves alive, even though he contracted all the diseases in the game in the span of two years. :) Probably not going to happen again, though.

Tip: Buy the plumbing as soon as you get 1000+ goud, it really DOES help. Even if you can't buy the books that quickly, buy the plumbing first. You can buy the books next time. :)

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AMAZING! how did you do it? btw, can anyone explain why, even though everyone int he family is working, the money keeps on plummeting down?

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On my best try I only got an ok life with 2 deplomas and 450$

Cath, the reason the money plumets is the lifestyle. That changes the plummet of health and happiness

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Money goes down automatically each season based on the Cost of Life (hence the game title..) - you can see how much you'll need just to cover expenses in the window where you can select Poor/Decent/Good/Excellent living.
iirc, the costs were 420 / 560 / 840 / 1120 goud per season.
Hence, if you're making less per season than the type of living you've selected, money will be going down.
Selecting "Work Hard" for everyone usually gives a nice boost to income.

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ok, hmm, can anyone give me some help? i can't get through the third year, well actually that was my best. only jean survived, and i had one diploma and i was like broke by - 450 and under

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wow this is a lot harder than i thought, now i know what my parents feel like when it comes to tax time lol, i dont want to ask this but, i am eager to finish the game, is anyone willing to post a walkthrough? i have been trying this for over 15 times, PLEASE ahh

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YAY! 4 Diplomas, all of the things to buy up to the plumbing, and $3783

I never had my people go to school once, and it payed off

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Cath - walkthroughs aren't going to be much good, since the jobs available each season and quite a few other effects are randomized, so no two games will be the same.

Try following grid's technique posted above, it works pretty well.

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9 diplomas, 3226 goud.

here's my secret

i started out with a good living condition, and never sent anyone to school.
i had them do volunteer work which will REALLY pay off. --> i did this alternately with marie, yves, jacqueline and patrick. jean earned diplomas via the stall owner thing.
i send them to the hospital even with a lil cold.
i upped their living condition the moment i got 1500+ goud. then when it reached 2000goud, i upped it again. and again. and again. ;-)

here is my proof:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b388/calvin0176/Picture2.png

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Eytan Zweig Author Profile Page November 8, 2006 2:03 AM

I managed to end with 7-9 diplomas, $1000+, about 4 times so far (about half the games I played). Most of the advice found above is good, except that in my experience, you should only buy the books on turn 1 - the books have immediate effect, so you can test if they do anything, and other than on turn 1 they rarely ever do anything.

How successful you'll be really depends a lot on luck, which I guess is also part of the message of the game. It doesn't matter how much you prioritize education and health if there aren't enough jobs available out there for your family to eat.

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Eytan Zweig, the books have an invisible effect, I found. I got several diplomas even when the education level was too low to have earned them properly.

And woah, apparently the trick really is to start off with Good Living. And then if you put everyone to work and buy books every season, you can get enough of a head start to be living a life of leisure by the second year.

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Oh, and three of my family members had a great life with that strategy because I started sending them to school once I was living a fairly good life.

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SnowCrasher Author Profile Page November 8, 2006 2:30 AM

Gosh. I can buy the computer but I can never save enough to get that new house. Has anyone been successful?

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Oh and if you have them start off with Good Living, you can have the adults do that awful Rum Distiller job without losing much, if any, health.

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Yup, starting off with Good Living is the way to go .. managed to improve my results, ended up with 4 oks and a great life for the kid; had two of the kids educated to the max (Baccalaureate II) and the third was almost there.
Still haven't managed a new home(impossible?) or computer, though I could've gotten the comp this time if I hadn't sent all three kids to school in the last year or two, with mom and dad working the stall and secretary jobs to cover expenses..
It'd be fun to be able to continue playing after four years ..

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I really like this game and after several attempts I managed to get 11 Diplomas and everyone alive and quite happy.

However, after working hard to get Jean up to the maximum level of education, the only jobs available were for Rum Distillers! Oh well!

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Hmm... I survived 227 rounds on that 3rd world Farmer thing. Cost of life... It takes still some more tries. My people started to die on the 4th year. Got too depressed. Xd Need to figure it out. XD;;

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Glazius Falconar Author Profile Page November 8, 2006 12:11 PM

It seems like the new house and computer are both there to taunt you, to illustrate how far out of reach they are. You can maybe clear 1000 Goud per season, assuming you live like crap and everyone takes the best possible jobs, so the new house is firmly out of reach, but the computer might be possible.

Living the good life from the start seems to be key, and I'll try keeping around a 500 Goud pad to get the stall open early.

--GF

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is there some way to avoid the chloera? I tried following the advice of starting out with a good living but i already started getting in debt in the second round.

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Woo! Finally got them to Year 3, and kept them happy for the majority of the time. Until everyone but the mom died in Summer ;_;

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OMG! I FINALLY WON!!!!!! Yes! I ended up with 6 diplomas and over 2500 gould, Grid's advice totally works! I am soo HAPPY! :)

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Shurubaca November 8, 2006 5:12 PM

after 357 atemps i've got a ok life for everbody, but with the tips i've got a great life fot 2 kids, 9 diplomas the computer and 1000+ cash! thanks guys!

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Insane...I have no talent for this type of game. Following all the best stratagies, the family all fell under 5health in the second year. The livestock didn't help much. I have no idea how to get the market stand. Luckily, once I even got a community center and a library! Then everybody died...
Any tips for this situation?

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I know how you feel kevin, I was confused.

get the father to work at the partime farm job and not YOUR OWN FARM, because I tried that before and it didn't help because the livestock didn't have much to do with it.

make sure you follow Grid's tips, buy your radio, new shoes, books and toys right away. i found this helped a lot. Also, make sure the mother and daughter do those market woman jobs no matter what.

a good tip for Yves: he's a small boy but always try to put him at the volunteer place with the father. if you can't, as soon as you buy livestock, make him work at the farm(remember not your own)

and a good tip for the older brother:

get him to help out at the farm all the time, as time passes by, the family will each start to progress in their education and money. soon, he will get a new job as a mechanic which really really helps.


anymore questions just ask hehe

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Tried it again, did a little better in the education department this time.

9 diplomas, 640 goud. Jean had a technical degree, the other four had up to their baccalauret. All the kids struggled with health, but for some reason it says the parents' lives were worse. Weird...

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Glazius Falconar Author Profile Page November 8, 2006 11:51 PM

10 diplomas, 3000+ goud at the end of the game, and I got the computer to kick off year 4.

I may have just been a little lucky this go-round, grabbing the market stall early, but these were the secrets to my success:

Always buy books. Always.

First season - decent living, buy books and shoes, send the dad to vo-tech and study hard, everyone else brings in the goud. Dad can now work as a mechanic.

After that - good living, buy a bicycle as possible to open up the construction worker.

Give Marie and Patrick some volunteer time so they can take secretary and assistant mechanic jobs if they're available.

Upgrade upgrade upgrade. With the bed and plumbing (and maybe the health center built?) you can go back down to decent living and still see no health loss.

Going to try holding off on the chicken until I get the plumbing next round. No time spent in school or at the hospital, just sheer hard work.

--GF

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YIPPEE!!
I survived the 2nd and almost the 3rd year! I bought
bed, plumbing, decent living, livestock, all that good stuff...Then the whole family got a cold on the same season...The everybody got cholora in one season...And by then I had negative 750 money...In one season they all died.
WHOOPS!!

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Having the adults do the volunteering means the buildings will go up a LOT faster. If you have two slots, try to have both mom and dad go for it but even having one adult and one child volunteer is faster than if you only have the kids do it.

That said, my one complaint about this game is that it crashes a lot. I keep getting errors with Flash, I even updated and it still continues. :/

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Although both of the parents into graduate study, they both only had OK lives. Weird.

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Oh wow, I just successfuly completed the game for the first time. The biggest difference with the winning game and my not-so-great ones was that when a family member was sick, the hospital was the immediate place to go. I also found the bed, though a big investment at the beginning, is an important choice.

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Finally! I got Patrick and Yves a great life, the parents a good life and the little girl an ok life... don't know what her problem was.

Try to stay on Good Life as much as you can.

Never send them to rest, just ignore it until the next turn, then send them to the clinic for disease treatment.

Volunteering is key as it opens up health and career opportunities.

Buy books every turn.

Oh, and for God's sake, stay away from that cursed rum distillery.

Some luck plays a big part too, as family members kept sending me money, libraries kept having book readings and health seminars were constant (Build the health building before the soccer field).

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I have to say, I think this is the most addicted I've been to a game for a long while. I keep playing it over and over and over. My only real complaint (other than the crashing) is more of a compliment: I want more! I wish it'd last longer than just four years so I could have a chance to give the family the house etc.
Then again, as has also been pointed out that'd defeat part of the lesson behind the game. The house is supposed to be impossible to reach. :/

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Best was 12 diplomas, still trying to get all 15.

You need good jobs from the beginning, and try to get your buildings up early. Hitting a market stall early in the first year will help you tremendously because it guarantees you an awesome job every season. Start off with the shoes and books.

Another go, went for computer, didn't really seem to see effects besides getting a +1 education to everyone.

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Bwahaha! I pwn you all! lol
10 diplomas, 1921 goud, everything before and including plumbing, and a child genius. Beat that. :D
Proof: http://img373.imageshack.us/img373/3310/screenshotoj9.png
How to become super cool:
(This is my first walkthrough btw :D)

Despite what everyone says, education is very important

Buy new shoes, radio, toys, and books at the very begining

Put Marie in education as often as possible, but stop until she has enough to become a secretary

Jean and Yves should go to volunteering until you buy a bike

Remember to keep buying books every season

Put people immediately into the hospital if they complain of feeling ill or if their health is below 5

I never bought plumbing or livestock till the last season, I tried to save up for a computer. (only had 500 more to go) So to get a computer, don't try to get a child genius. :D

What else is there to say...? Uhm...it's pretty straightforward, you can figure everything else out by yourself. (Gives you a better sense of accomplishment anyways) :P

Oh ya, one last thing, I forgot to set living quality to excellent at the end, remember to do that. (Or you can just do it at the last year, if you don't want a computer) :D

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omg I have 10 diplomas !!!
i cant put it on but i have 10 diplomas and 1446 gourds
I love this game and I have only played it 2 times

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Glazius Falconar Author Profile Page November 13, 2006 5:28 PM

I've managed 13 diplomas with incredible luck, and it'd really take some amazing circumstances to get the full 15. But here are the unintended lessons of the game:

Education is overrated. Sure it's how people "keep score" but very few of the higher degrees have any real purpose (professor is a pipe dream, and you need 1 diploma to open secretary, and none for mechanic or assistant.)

Vo-tech and field experience are just as good as formal education.

The S. Vimes "Boots" theory is in full effect - to wit, "rich" people spend less money than "poor" people and end up better off, because of the way their equity lets them live. You can drop 1500 Goud on a bed and plumbing, or bump your life up to Good, but at the end of 5 seasons the guy with the bed and plumbing will have made his money back and be even healthier.

A rising tide lifts all boats - if you improve the community, you don't have to work as hard improving yourself.

--GF

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woooooooh!

5th time i have played and i got 10 diplomas, 2 great lives, 2 good lives, 1 okay life and 2905 and there all had max happiness and health.

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I ended with a pretty good ending, the father had an ok life,the mother had a good life, and the rest had a great life. Ended up with 9 diplomas and 1868g at the end.

The mechanic, mechanic assistant, and securtary are great for money and health.

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Has anyone else found that switching to "work hard" makes you accidently click on the wrong things? I was doing great, but mistakenly chose not to board up the house during hurricane season.

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I think I did really well:

I ended with 9 diplomas, owned everything but the PC and house, and had only 280 goud.
Jean had a ok life, eking out some success. He struggled with poor health, but went back to school to earn a Baccalauret degree. He worked most often as a mechanic. The future is bright and limitless, and a stable life is finally a real possibility.
Marie had a ok life, eking out some success. She stayed healthy, but found a little time to earn a technical degree. She worked most often as a stall owner. The future is bright and limitless, and a stable life is finally a real possibility.
Patrick had a ok life, managing to achieve some success desipte the family's hardships. He struggled with poor health, but worked hard at school and qualified for the Baccalaureat I. This paves the way for higher education, a professional life, and a rewarding and much-improved future.
Jacquline had a ok life, managing to achieve some success desipte the family's hardships. She struggled with poor health, but worked hard at school and qualified for the Baccalaureat I. This paves the way for higher education, a professional life, and a rewarding and much-improved future.
Yves had a tough life, with nothing more than bare necessities. He struggled with poor health, but worked hard at school and qualified for the Baccalaureat I. This paves the way for higher education, a professional life, and a rewarding and much-improved future.

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9 diplomas, all ok lives, $1037 at the end.
Here are my tips, even though i picked up a lot on this site:
To reenforce what others have said:

Buy bike asap to open up job of constuction worker.
Always switch to "good living" or better if possible.
Board up the house in hurricane season.
Always buy the market stall.
Buy books every time, it DOES help.
First round, buy books, shoes, and toys. That way they start off really happy.
Treat sicknesses the very next round, even if its just "sick". However, don't stop mid-season to have someone rest at home for a small sickness. DO send them directly to the hospital for chlorea, Dipthereia, etc.

To contradict what others have said:

The community center isn't that immportant, you dont always need to work on it, as long as you buy the books. at least in my oppinion. work on it if you have a spare person, but not otherwise.

My strategies:

Spend the entire 1st year working, accept for the last round. On the last round, clinic everyone who needs it and school everyone who you can afford to, but keep one person working in a well-paying job, market woman or better. For the next years, switch off working-season and school/health season, as described above, as long as you can afford it.
Buy livestork asap, it gives you $200 every round.
Make Yves go to school the most, since he can't work very much. My last Yves had a Baccaloreat II.
Voccational school (for the parents) is only offered in the Rainy Season, so be sure that you don't procrastinate on their education.
4 education pts are needed for a certificate, 6 for a baccaloreat 1, and 9 for a bacccaloreat II, so if you notice that some one has 5 pts at the end of the game, send them to school!

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14 diplomas, 2 good lifes, 13 great lifes, 1423goud. :)
no computer, no new house and no stall :(
Never visited clinic/hospital noone got sick :D
My best so far!

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ex.infernis66 March 27, 2007 1:56 AM

long time player..just just posting a comment now...doesn anyone else find this game really depressing? everyone dies of cholerah and the underlying message seems to be that those in the poverty class are hopeless. i may be taking this game too seriously but its kinda scary

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Evilwumpus April 13, 2007 10:35 PM

@ex.infernis: Not at all true. I've had a few very successful families. I think the underlying message is that educated people can always get ahead. Read some of the walkthroughs and you should be able to cure your depression.

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YEAHHHH! Made 13 diplomas and 4 great lifes!!
Got 10 000+, and computer when finished!!!!!!

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Won the game with 2,934 goud, 8 diploma's, two kids with super education. OH YAH!!

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This is how I did it well:

First: buy shoes and home remedy. Home remedy every season.

One of the grown-ups have to be a voulenteer every time. Never let them be a rum destiller.

Don't care about education. You can get that through free library nights if you work as a volunteer.

When the community center, the library, the health information office and the soccer field is done, you can stop being a volenteer.

If they have got 3 of lower health; send them to the hospital

Don't buy the radio or toys, there is no point. Instead, buy the bed when you can, and after that, the lifestock.

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I believe a computer would be possible, if you strategized a bit. I was able to win my last game with 7 diplomas and about 4,000 goud. Almost enough to buy a computer. (I had 4,000 goud throughout the entire third and fourth years, it just never increased. )

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Anonymous May 27, 2007 12:02 AM

nice rant but what you are decribeing is a POSITIVE feedback loop not negative, positive feeback reenforces it'self, negative cancles out it's self, if it goes spirealing out of control it's positive

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Swifter June 5, 2007 10:31 AM

I own! did you know I got through with 14 diplomas (no school for Jean) and 3451 goud?

I got the computer and didnt even get the market stall!

My guys all had excellent lives except the stupid jean :( my tip

my tip is to get 2 as volunteer, don't care about education. You can get that through free library nights if you work as a volunteer, I got full happiness all the time, excellent living all the time..

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Swifter June 6, 2007 1:44 AM

And I also wonder.. why does

Yves only get to be a volunteer? Hes practically useless and he'll get education only.. which makes him a child genius with no use o.O

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This game has an outstanding realization that even though you can't get by with what you need, if you have the perserverance to journey towards education and hard work, you can always find a better life right around the corner.

But still,I STINK AT THIS GAME!

I've gotten the louziest jobs at the times I really need them,via.

For instance:

When I take Jean to the work place, all I find are Rum distiller, Professor, and Mechanic!

And next thing I know...

When I get Jean and the others educated or get th library and books, all the jobs that were listed before were replaced with Farm Hand, Rum Distiller,(Yes, the dreaded Rum Distiller)and Volunteer! I mean, C'mon!

Can anyone help me with this problem, because the best life I've gotten was 1500 goud, 5 degrees,(all mechanic, mind you) and all ok lives.

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Glazius Falconar July 17, 2007 1:16 PM

The jobs on offer are random. This is the risk you take working for other people! It's better to work for yourself.

How?

Well...

If you bought livestock, your farm would turn out better.

Buying the chicken seems to drop about 150 Goud in at the start of the month, whether anybody works the farm or not.

Occasionally some NGO may help you finance a stall in the market, but you need to be solvent enough to be worth helping.

The market stall is a 420 Goud job that Mom and Dad can work at every month, but you need to have 500 Goud at the start of a month to even have a chance at unlocking it.

--GF

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Kat'Kai July 31, 2007 3:34 PM

I tried this game 3 times the first time my guys died in the first 2 seasons. 2 time I lived with degress and in debt with most my people in healths with 0. 3 time I had 1147 Goud and 5 deplomys I thought it was okay. Some thing I did for it was :

1.Buy shoes, than once you can afford it buy a bike to work in construction, than buy plumbing it really helps your health, than buy livestock and increase health living, than get a bed, and than keep buying everything else except for computer and newhouse. You need 3 education for Mecanic and 4 for assistant. *Sorry first time posting if I got it wrong*

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I haven't played this game for ages, so when i played i thought oh i'll do absolutely rubbish, but acctualy i got 8 diploma's, excellent living, 1110+ money and got everything minus the house and uniforms. After a troublesome first year they all stayed in excellent health -8 or 9, although the male adult did have 7 at one point, and i realised the reason behind the game.

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I love games like these-I just wish it went longer!
I was about one hundred dollars away from buying a computer...They really should make a sequel to this, even if it's intention was just to raise awareness rather than just a casual game.

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I HATE THE FACT THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THE HOUSE!!! i know i could get it if i only had more time. it takes like 2 1/2 season just to get the computer...it really does pump up the education of all the family real quick...faster than the school...but if i only had more time. maybe like 8 years i know i could get that dang house :|

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are there any other games like this?

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I got 9 diplomas and 4394 :D someone beat that ?

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My best is 8 diplomas and 5574 Goud. It was hard! lol

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my ALMOST successful strategy:
set their living standard on poor
assign everyone as much work in high paying fields as possible
don't EVER volunteer it's a waste of time and you don't profit
put everyone to work
avoid school and focus on making money and keeping you family healthy...somehow.
this is the part where it starts to get rocky. Litteraly in one years time, I went from having $1000+ to being completely broke and having 3 family members die all at once. Interesting game. Now of course I have to conquere it. :D

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my results
Jean had a rough life, making ends meet, but only barely. He stayed healthy, but found a little time to earn a technical degree. He worked most often as a rum distiller. The achievements of the last four years promise a slightly easier future.
Marie had a rough life, making ends meet, but only barely. She struggled with poor health, but went back to school to earn a Baccalauret degree. She worked most often as a secretary. The achievements of the last four years promise a slightly easier future.
Patrick had a tough life, with nothing more than bare necessities. He struggled with poor health, but worked hard at school and qualified for the Baccalaureat I. There's no choice put to move into the footsteps the parents have left.
Jacquline had a ok life, managing to achieve some success desipte the family's hardships. She stayed relatively healthy, but did enough study to earn a basic Certificate. A good well-paying job is a likely future.
Yves had a ok life, managing to achieve some success desipte the family's hardships. He struggled with poor health, and did enough study to earn a basic Certificate. A good well-paying job is a likely future
7 diplomas
2031 Goud
I actualy followed only SOME of my own rules and some of other peoples
key things

Don't ignore ilnesses
make sure they have high a paying job
make sad people volunteer
out of the sick population cure the ones with the best health with the most expensive treatment
don't buy anything other: than shoes, a bike, (only once) and books and remedy (every turn)
likewise don't bother with school for the kids they'll learn from the books
Make the mom go to school so she can earn the highest paying job- which for some reason is not available for the dad.
make the youngest child work on the farm when his happyness is all the way up and someone else's is low; make that person with the low happiness volunteer.(if the opportunity is available.)
Save money, decline the offer to open up a market stall, don't buy chickens either, though it claims to bring profit it doesn't seem to do the trick as well as working high paying jobs and saving.

It would be nice to play for a 10 year period and watch the kids grow up.

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Yay! I finished the game! But I didn't get any diplomas no matter how hard I tried! Can somebody pls help me?

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Yay i got 9 diplomas and 550 groud

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Wow, a year later and I still play this game.

Here is my strategy (which works, by the way!)

First I send both parents to school, if both kids can get jobs and the youngest either works on the farm or volunteers. Buy medicine and books, change to poor living (just this once!).
Now, the dad can work as a mechanic whenever that is available. The mom I send to school when it's available until she reaches 4 education points. Then, she can work as a secretary.
Always always always have the youngest do volunteer work when it's available. If you receive the option to buy the stall... BUY IT. It costs 500 g, but you ALWAYS have a job that pays 420 g.
Also, everyone works/studies hard. If someone gets sick (which shouldn't happen because after the first season you should choose Good Living), have them Take it Easy and if they only have 1 or 2 health points left, send them to the clinic (the cheapest option) at the beginning of the next season.
If good luck is in the cards, you'll get the Stall option early, along with the community center, library, and then health center (health center is the big bonus -- after you get it, you can go back to Decent Living). Also good luck is the field extension -- it's free and supposedly lowers the cost of living for the family ("supposedly" because it's nothing that I've bothered tracking extensively).
I also don't know that the chickens are worth the 700 g.
Oh.. and it's not terribly important to get the older boy's education up, because you can buy the bike and he can do construction, except when the mechanical asst. is available and construction is not -- so if the opportunity arises for him to go to school instead of work (e.g. there is no work available for him), you might want to go ahead and let him, so he can do the mech. asst. when possible. Also, this way he and the father can switch off, since I think the construction is harder on the health than the mech. job.

Using my method, I've been able to buy the computer... but only in the 4th year -- anyone have better luck? It seems to really help with education..

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miz_potter November 24, 2007 5:16 AM

omg i got through with 7 diplomas and 2304 goud...has anyone got a computer? is like immpossible!!

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YAY! i got a computer at last! it made all of the family get top education! so in the end i got 15 dipomas and ended with -353 goud because i forgot to send them to work in the excitement of geting a computer!

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greenlicious December 8, 2007 6:55 AM

i'm very proud to say that i've got 15 diplomas with 1340 goud. Both parents had good lives and the kids had great lives.

- Send the father for vocational as in 1 round he'd become a mechanic.
- Next, send the son for school for 3 rounds and he become a mechanical asistant.
- Next, the mom for school so she can be a secretary.
- Work the daughter and let the smallest volunteer constantly.
- Always buy books. Uniforms are great for public schools. Remedy is a must as well.
- If you're lucky, the community center sets up really fast.

Hence, luck matters.

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Is there a way to keep playing past the 4 year mark? This is the first time I've survived.

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Anonymous January 14, 2008 6:29 PM

Hurray! A good life, after several dozen times!

Sent the wife to technical school every chance, rather than the kids. The parents and the older son can benefit from the education, but not the younger two. Also, buy livestock ASAP, and interior plumbing before bed, radio, or toys. These two affect health (or so it seems), so they're much more important.

Marie had a good life, excelling in the harsh setting. She managed to stay in terrific shape, and went back to school to earn a Baccalauret degree. She worked most often as a volunteer. The future is bright and limitless, and a stable life is finally a real possibility.

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Wow, getting the market stall really does help. I got it early on in the game and ended with everyone having an ok life, 5 diplomas, and I had a computer and indoor plumbing. :) It's tough to figure out a good strategy but once you have one it's quite fun!

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Swifter March 8, 2008 8:41 AM

I got the computer...

Really good..

at start of 3rd season I had computer already..7 diplomas 4000 at the end..
dont believe, then dont..

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Anonymous March 16, 2008 8:22 AM

i only got ok when i never got into debt it was an out rage!!!

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Everyone died in the first year when i played it
i at the end i had -£1988 (oh no!) here what not to do:

Work when you are ill
spend money on things you dont need
Always have at least £60 in your bank

meme

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I still play this game well over a year after its initial release. I dream that one day I will get that house!

My best to date: all 15 diplomas, everything purchased apart from the bike and the house, with the computer bought halfway through season 3. The family lived on a decent living until the start of season 4, when they turned to a good living.

The best strategy I've found is: father in school for first turn or so in order to become a mechanic, then the eldest son for two turns in order to become a mechanic's assistant, then the mother for a couple of turns in order to become a secretary. Keep the youngest son as a volunteer until the projects are completed, and the daughter working as a market woman or farm hand. Once that's done, the two youngest kids can start going to school each turn.

Buy books every turn and the remedy as well once you can afford it.

Just my two cents.

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IhavequestionsIHAVEQUESTIONS July 27, 2008 10:27 AM

Jonna-

How do you buy the stall?

community center?
store?
employment office?

where?

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Foxsacu July 29, 2008 5:19 PM

Finally, I beat it!
I ended up with 9 Diplomas and 1370 Goud.
It would have been 1570, but I got robbed.

Anyways, I have to say, it's quite chalenging.
And it took me like twelve tries to beat it.

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10 diploms, bought all except the houseso you can get the pc...got all except one to level 8 in education..shame there was no job the last year for this level :(
the parents: had a ok life, eking out some success. He/she stayed healthy, and went back to school to earn a Baccalauret degree. He worked most often as a rum distiller/stall owner. The future is bright and limitless, and a stable life is finally a real possibility.

the kids

had a great life, rising above life's difficulties. He managed to stay in terrific shape, and worked hard at school and qualified for the Baccalaureat I. This paves the way for higher education, a professional life, and a rewarding and much-improved future.

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circle_squared September 22, 2008 1:52 AM

I don't know if anyone else has tried, but is it possible to finish the game with a few dead family members? I actually tried this, and kept one of the kids working hard at the family farm with cholera for three years- but she didn't die!

I kept everyone else in the best health possible, which makes me think that the game is set up such that people start dying only when everyone is living terribly in poor health.

I wonder what the summary of that person's life would be at the end? Anyone else want to try?

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I'm still trying to figure out how the game is slanted when you change your 'priority' in the first screen. I noticed the availability of classes changed depending on which I picked... but I can't figure out what else happens.

I think losing either parent is going to doom your game faster. Not so sure about the kids.

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Finally, i got all 15 diplomas...;)

http://img238.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=70977_ayiti_complete_122_202lo.jpg

regards
Biti

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Someone asked if it is possible to end with a few dead family members.

Yes, it is. It says '(Name) died of (disease) in (time he died-season and year 1/2/3/4)'

I finished the game with Yves and Jacquline dead(the youngest child and the female child), 5 degrees and 100-200 goud.

PS:Sorry if this sounds....morbid.

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I'm never good at these kinds of games but they're still fun.

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This game is hard. I managed to do really well on the second try (got highest degree with the youngest kid), but I have no idea how I did it. So far I've only beaten it thrice. -_-

They should really make the game a little longer so there's actually a point in getting the higher up items.

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Cordelia91 Author Profile Page April 19, 2009 2:54 PM

I managed to find some stability in corn crops on my second try. Corn crops seem to get hit with problems less often than the other crops, and are usually cheaper to boot. However, when I could, I would also add a few plots of the other crops, simply because it's a very bad idea to invest in only one thing which could simply be wiped out.
I never tried to deal with the animals, though, because I was "raided" for animals (even though there were never any animals to raid) many times, hit with various diseases that would have wiped them all out on a regular basis, and because of the inherently higher cost to own animals (having to build a shed, a well, etc). I'm not rich exactly, but things are pretty stable (family funds hover around $500-600). I only got opportunites at the begining, when I was struggling. Do you have to be fairly poor to get them?

Nobody in the family is educated at all, which doesn't seem to be a problem, even though I have 6 kids. I did invest in some opium (only once), and it kept the family going, but I wouldn't reccomend it, because it could easily come back and bite you later on.

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Cordelia91 Author Profile Page April 19, 2009 2:56 PM

Sorry! Ignore my last comment! It got posted in the wrong place by mistake!

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GeordieLass Author Profile Page October 24, 2009 7:15 PM

What a pity Biti didn't say how you get all the diplomas!

I've managed a maximum of 11 diplomas by sticking to the following rules. I think getting the final 4 is mostly a matter of luck with the jobs that come up and the availability of the right schooling. Sorry it's so long-winded:

Things to buy at the store:

Before you do anything else, buy shoes and books. The shoes allow their health to deteriorate more slowly as they work

Buy books EVERY single round after that - this is the key to everyone getting education in the game. Buy these before you buy anything else.

Once you are into the third (or even the second) season start to buy the Home Remedy every turn. It won't stop you getting colds forever, but it does seem to approximately double the time before the family come down with them.

Usually you won't need the toys or the radio at all. That is, if you pick the right jobs, and don't "work hard" all the time, so that you don't let your health deteriorate to the point where you have cholera/TB etc. you won't need them. Only buy the school uniform either when the child you want to educate needs the uniform, and not "just in case".

Buy the books and as soon as you still have over 350 goud left after that send either Jean (the father) or Patrick (the elder son) to work and see if the construction worker job is available, if it is, buy the bicycle).

The bed, the livestock and the plumbing are all very useful for helping the family stay healthy or making money, so get each as soon as you have enough money.

Lastly, if you can help it, don't let your money go right down close to 0 for the start of the round, sometimes the balance will drop before it begins to go up again, you could end up with poor living because of it.

Voluntary work:

As soon as they are available, get the maximum number of people voluntary jobs - they (obviously) don't give you money, but you do get some added education from them, and hopefully, if you can get 2 volunteers for the first 2 seasons you'll begin to build the community centre and this gives tons of benefits the further you get with it.

After the main community centre, you'll automatically build the library (which gives you an education bonus every turn, once it's finished), after that you have a choice - take the health information office, if you can get that built before the end of year 2, with a bit of luck you may never need to send anyone to the hospital or clinic as that will give them all a health boost each turn.

The final thing to build is a soccer field - by then you don't need more than one person as a volunteer, the others are better occupied either working or studying, even if 2 slots are available. Once that's built you really don't need to put anyone in as a volunteer again.

Jobs:

If possible, you need 3 people in paid work every turn (until you get your own stall, then 2). The other 2 should either be volunteering or in education.

Unless there are no other jobs available, the Rum Distillers should never be used. It impacts far too much on their health, even though the pay is better than the Farm Hand or Market Woman, they are far better options in the early part of the game.

Construction worker is slightly tougher on them than Mechanic/Mechanic Assistant, but quite a lot better paid, and as soon as you have a bicycle either Jean or Patrick should take this job. If both are qualified enough to be a Mechanic/Mechanic Assistant and both jobs are available, give it to the one who has better health.

Follow the tips below about schooling and you should have Mechanic/Mechanic Assistant options quickly for Jean and Patrick and (with luck) Secretary for Marie by the end of year 2 (or if you have a bad selection of jobs by the end of year 3). Secretary is the best paying job that anyone will qualify for but Marie is the only one who can hold it, and she has to have a technical degree before she can take it.

If you are lucky, when you have over 750 goud during your turn you will be offered the chance to buy a stall and that makes as much money for one of the parents as the secretary's job. Ideally you can have both parents working for 420 goud each and have all 3 children in school and still be making a profit.

Education

Jean, Marie and Patrick (the parents and the elder son can get better/more choices of work by getting educated, so they are the ones that you need to concentrate on initially when you are educating the family. Jean needs least education to become a mechanic. One season at the vocational school, if you click on study hard, will qualify Jean as a mechanic.

Two seasons of studying hard will see Patrick qualified as a Mechanic Assistant, and it takes 3 seasons of hard study to get Marie a technical degree, which she requires to become a secretary.

So it's best to educate them in that order to give the maximum chance of 3 people always having a decent paying job.

Vocational school for the adults isn't available every season, so do take advantage of it when it is. It's worth noting that, for all school doesn't run for the kids over the summer, occasionally the vocational school for the adults does.

The Private "lottery" school really isn't worth bothering with for the children - if you can't afford Protestant school or the Public school and a uniform put them into work or working on their own farm and make sure they have the books to study at home.

Of the other 3 schools, the Public and Catholic schools can't be used right at the start even if you buy a uniform. You'll need the child you want to send to one to have either studied at home/worked/volunteered for at least 3 seasons or to have already spent 1 season at a different school.

Where possible, buy the uniform and use the public school. Catholic school gives the best education, but is VERY expensive and should only be used if you have a stack of extra money for some reason and you've bought everything that will be helpful.

Don't forget, that you shouldn't educate people if there are volunteer slots to fill, and you haven't finished building everything, these will overall give more educational benefit for everyone.

Everything else:

1. Use Decent Living every turn, make sure that if it drops because of poverty you put it back up at the end of the turn.

2. Make sure you have at least 150 goud before the start of the hurricane season as you could be asked immediately to pay that much to hurricane-proof your home. If you don't, you're almost certain to take 400 goud damage during the season.

3. At Christmas, unless you have a huge excess of money don't buy the festive stuff, your money can be better spent and if you stick to the other rules you won't need the happiness boost.

4. Only send people to the clinic/hospital when there are jobs they can't do because of illness or when they have a named illness and it is offered during a turn as an option. Once you have the health information office just use the clinic to get their health back up to where they can work again and the health awareness nights will do the rest. Don't waste money on going to a clinic/hospital before you have to. It's better to continue volunteering and get the health information office built, which will stop health deteriorating each turn and gradually improve it.

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Always volunteer to get education and then you can build a library to help with the education more. At the beginning of the game pick happiness because thats how I do good. Always buy books at the beginning of every season. Do not work at the Rum Destiller job because it will make your people really sick and if you want them all up to 9 in Happiness go all out and spend when it askes you if you want to celebrate.

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4 years, no diplomas, health and happiness to the max, decent living 3 years (year 4 good) no computer/new house, 1000+ muny. Easy. Just never ever work hard.

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Oof this is long. But helpful! Click for advice.

+ The object of the game is to finish with both parents alive, so yeah, it does matter.

+ Volunteering = good. (Guess which family member is best for volunteering...) Actually, there's tons of info in the blocks of text, it can help a lot.

+ I've never confirmed it, but what you choose in the beginning affects your gameplay. It may become a challenge to achieve your set goal. If you feel like a random event is/isn't happening and time's running out, chances are it really won't kick in as much as you'd like -- change course before it's too late.

+ Pay attention to the seasons, and associated costs. Plan ahead. Budgeting is your friend!

+ Figure out which power-ups are worth it, both in reward and cash. There will be different rates for everything.

Ok, if that's too vague, I'll have pity... a home remedy may not stop serious illness, but it might qualify someone for a job that's otherwise closed because of sickness. AND: books? They work. But again, it's just a nudge. Sometimes they can be at the same # level and with no diploma, and yet suddenly qualify for a job with purchase of books. Another detail is some kids learn faster than others...

Sometimes an option (or person! or building...) that doesn't seem to pay off / buff will actually cut down the time required to reach a goal. Or not. It's a bit like the Grow games that way.

+ Standard of living matters a great deal.

+ Be able to make adjustments on the fly. That's the fun-gaming part of this. (for length:)

I.e. if Rum Distiller is the only thing available, you can maximize income while minimizing injury with good mgmt. Prioritize which family members to power up or down before you start, because random events will interrupt.

+ One mean trick is

sending one to work or school if they're sick but not seriously dying. If they're really that sick, they'll be sent to the clinic, and you could save cash AND time whilst doing two-birds-one-stone. This is the only way to really move them mid-season.
If they're just getting worse, though, send them home just before the end of the season. There's a chance they'll be sent to the clinic from there, plus you'll get close to a whole season's effects.

The whole family cannot afford to be sick at once.

+ Normal stuff can happen such as

parents being worried if their child is too sick. in which case sending them to volunteer may not help their happiness. Or health affecting efficacy of the task.

And yes, I've done all 15 diplomas, though not often. I never take my own advice.

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Oh, see, there is a difference in gaming from the starting options.
The stall requires

only 500 goud in my usual mode.

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Rules of thumb:

  • Try to always have 3 incomes and 2 students/volunteers, unless you have enough saved to get by on fewer than 3 incomes for a season and there are good educational opportunities available.

  • Fill all volunteer slots until you have everything built. To have a realistic shot at 15 diplomas, you need the community center to get started in season 1 or 2, and you should have everything done by halfway through year 2.

  • Educate/volunteer the parents early and often, because their educational opportunities are rarer, since vocational school isn't year round, but there is always a school option for the kids year round. Also, the two younger kids give you no monetary benefit from education anyway. Just fit them in when either there are no volunteer slots and no vocational school, or when jobs are scarce and one or both parents need to work jobs the kids can't do, or the kids are run down and need a little break.

  • You don't need any of the expensive items (beyond the bicycle). You need all the money you can get to further education instead. Do buy the books every season, and early on the herbal remedy as well (until the health awareness nights kick in). You probably won't need the toys, but the radio can be helpful, and the uniform is necessary for public school. Pick the bicycle up in year 1 or it probably isn't worthwhile.

  • Buying the stall only makes sense in the first two years... later on you're just breaking even or even taking a loss and it's better to have the financial cushion or get more people in schools.

  • Keep your living standard on good as often as you can afford it early on, then drop it to decent once everyone's health gets back up to 8 or so due to the health awareness nights.

  • If anyone is getting low on health, use them as volunteers or send them to school. Ideally, their health will hold out long enough for the health awareness nights to start their magic.

  • Always have everyone work hard. Taking it easy doesn't seem to save much health, except if they're working as rum distillers (which should only be a last resort job if it's a very weak job market otherwise). You get quite a bit more money (and presumably education/volunteer work) than if you take it easy.

  • For schooling, early on take all volunteer slots, but when there aren't two slots, priority should be vocational school for the adults, then public school for the kids (cheap and effective, you can sometimes get all three kids in at once if you have the parents working good jobs), then if necessary protestant school or professional tutor. Try to avoid local tutor and lottery school, since they are not as helpful, and catholic school since it basically cancels out one of your incomes (though it is pretty effective... can be a good choice in the last two seasons of the game if you have some money saved and one of the kids needs more than 1 education point to get to 9). Once everything is built, public school and vocational school are more effective than volunteering, but volunteering is still better than a local tutor or lottery school, and it's free so it can be more useful than the other schooling options.

  • Keep at least 150 on hand to start hurricane season, and make sure you are making money that season in case there is a second hurricane to boot. More than once I've paid through the first hurricane only to be out of cash and had my game effectively ended by the second one.

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Love the game, and I like that it's very difficult, almost impossible to do certain things. The political message is very clear. What I dislike is that it's literally impossible to get the house. Would have preferred if it was incredibly difficult, but possible.

At this point I've managed Excellent lives with all members, all fifteen diplomas, and all items except the new house in one game.

But crunching the numbers:

Max Income is: 350 (Construction Worker) + 252 (Market Woman) + 420 (Secretary & Stall Owner, or 452 each as Professors) + 82.

So even if you could get every job every turn, starting at season one (which is obviously impossible, since you need education, a stall, bike, etc., and some are only offered occasionally), your total income would be around 1500 a season, or 24k total (a bit more because of farm and bonuses). Even at minimum living (420), you're spending 6,720 before you buy anything, leaving you with less than 20k.

Just wish it was at least possible!

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I survived ok with 734 goud in the end and everybody survived. It took me 3 tries to win. The wife just got her technical degree then I won.

Health

I made them go to the clinic if their heath was 3-.

Jobs

The youngest child (Yves?) I made him always volunteer.

The mother was always a market woman except when it was possible to go to school. When she goes to school have her study hard unless her health is low. (3-)

The father I mad him be a farm hand until I had enough to buy a stall, then he always did that.

The daughter was always a market woman except when their was only 1 job opening available (The Mother did the job when only one could be a market woman) If that happened the girl worked on the farm.

The teenage son always worked as a farm hand.

Money trouble

Always no matter what, keep their living costs a decent. If they are running out of money make all the kids work, no volunteering, no school.

And buy books every season unless you have 100 goud and under. You need food. It helps their education.

I think that's all you need to know. This is a fun game once you know how to win! Have fun!

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Whoah- this reminds me of Steinback's "the pearl". :)
THis game seemed really hard when I played it without reading the tutorial on this page- my people would last until after year 2 and then they all got sick, couldn't work anywhere but the farm, and wasted away at home. I think buying books and volunteering instead of going to the school helped alot.

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This game made me very angry on the first try because I basically died very early and I saw my sister playing on it and she got a really good life one and got lots of money and good health and I was raging but on the second try I lived through but I had no diplomas and then when I used a guide I got the second best ending I could achieve before I used this guide and got 8 diplomas and 3500 gold and got okay lives for all my characters and it said on the children's endings that they would have a good life in the future and the 3500 gold and 8 diplomas one was the best i ever had.

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vampphoenix99 Author Profile Page July 6, 2012 9:30 AM

I'm so proud of Yves. He can't be older than 7 or 8, and yet he still manages to build a Community Center with a Library, Health Information Office, and Soccer Field as well as qualify for a Baccalaureat Degree every time. Damn, kid.

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hhaddict42 Author Profile Page November 30, 2012 8:11 PM

Haha, I beat the game with Yves and Jean left, Mom died in second year from Cholera and Patrick and the girl died in the third year from Cholera. When I beat it Yves had Tubercholosis for almost 2 years and Jean had some other disease I can't remember the name of and I finished with roughly 350 goud. XD

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@hhaddict

I fail to see how that is at all funny.

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